Reloading - How to do it Better?

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bigealta

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
May 22, 2010
1,921
Utah & NJ
So i mentioned before, i'm not great with reloads.
The main problem is they take to long to start burning clean.
I hope this thread can show good pics of different reloads on different size coal beds and in different stoves so we all can see what might help us in our own stoves and situations. Thanks in advance for everyone's input.

I'll start with my reload on small coal bed this morning.
(In my mind the below takes way to long to get burning cleanly.)

All oak splits. (moisture around 18% on fresh spilt room temp.)

2 sleepers on the sides of the morning coal bed raked forward. (Not a lot of coals)
Bottom row topped with 1 sleeper to increase air flow.
This load was for more heat and faster lighting vs. long burn time.
From coals to 3rd pic took 20 minutes. (still not burning strong yet)
From coals to 4th pic took 35 minutes. (good burn now)
From coals to 5th pic took 1 hour. (Perfect cruising)

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Looks good. Burning NW softwoods, maple and alder, I only used sleepers on a cold starup in the F400. They were not necessary for hot reloads on a good coal bed, raked to the front. But with oak or locust, I can see how getting a bit more air under the wood would help.
 
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For me, reload in the morning without a lot of coals takes a bit longer similar to your situation.
I have lots of dry pine so I use that and smaller splits to get stove nice and hot before putting bigger pieces on.

My hot reloads will differ because I sometimes get to it when coals have burned down a lot. Otherwise I prefer to reload with a nice 2-3 inches of coals then everything takes off much quicker
 
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With the N/S loading T6 I just rake the coals forward and pack the new load on top with one or two skinny splits at the bottom center on the coals.

Reloading - How to do it Better? Reloading - How to do it Better?
 
Just me but an enjoyable part of burning wood is the slow process of it. I can turn the thermostat up and get heat instantly, wood makes me slow down and enjoy the fire more. When I find myself wanting the fire to get to blazing faster is when I stop and realize this.
 
Just me but an enjoyable part of burning wood is the slow process of it. I can turn the thermostat up and get heat instantly, wood makes me slow down and enjoy the fire more. When I find myself wanting the fire to get to blazing faster is when I stop and realize this.
I live in a tight neighborhood so the faster the chimney stops smoking the better. That's a big reason why i'm trying to get better reloads.

I too have spent many many hours watching the fire. Cleans out all the random persistent thoughts rattling around in the noggin.
 
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It's softwood, small diameter and it sat 2 years stacked in the shed before burning. As you can see, the adjacent splits are much thicker and they are around 17% mc. The two darker splits on the upper right are madrona.
 
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Just me but an enjoyable part of burning wood is the slow process of it. I can turn the thermostat up and get heat instantly, wood makes me slow down and enjoy the fire more. When I find myself wanting the fire to get to blazing faster is when I stop and realize this.
The most enjoyable part of wood heat for me is the thoroughness of it. With forced air it seems its always on the verge of turning on again. With wood, my couch is warm my walls are warm the floors are warm.. You get the picture.
 
Not trying to be a wise a$$, but how do you know the moisture content on the round? Or are you assuming since your other splits are around 15%-16% it will be fine if the round is plus 20%?
I would know by having split a few similar ones (round, size, drying time), measured them, and getting a consistent number below 20 pct. After seeing that a few times, there's no need to measure again.
 
So i mentioned before, i'm not great with reloads.
The main problem is they take to long to start burning clean.
I hope this thread can show good pics of different reloads on different size coal beds and in different stoves so we all can see what might help us in our own stoves and situations. Thanks in advance for everyone's input.

I'll start with my reload on small coal bed this morning.
(In my mind the below takes way to long to get burning cleanly.)

All oak splits. (moisture around 18% on fresh spilt room temp.)

2 sleepers on the sides of the morning coal bed raked forward. (Not a lot of coals)
Bottom row topped with 1 sleeper to increase air flow.
This load was for more heat and faster lighting vs. long burn time.
From coals to 3rd pic took 20 minutes. (still not burning strong yet)
From coals to 4th pic took 35 minutes. (good burn now)
From coals to 5th pic took 1 hour. (Perfect cruising)

View attachment 323872View attachment 323873View attachment 323874View attachment 323875View attachment 323876
I also reload EW. What I would do is try to put a split that will ignite quickly as your bottom split, I prefer cherry or maple or a softwood if you have it and then my oaks. Faster ignition especially if oak is at 18%. My oak is 12-15%. I also like my short chucks NS on top. Nice hot fire doing that versus the EW cigar type burn if I load tight.
 
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Kindling, two pieces, bottom and top. Preferably really dry pine.
 
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I know my set up isnt ideal, I dont have the need to fill it full. I like to load wood, and stir coals all of that. My stove is far from set it and forget it, lol..
 
I would know by having split a few similar ones (round, size, drying time), measured them, and getting a consistent number below 20 pct. After seeing that a few times, there's no need to measure again.
Yes, and that round was quite light in comparison.
 
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You are lucky in that the F400 lights secondaries fast. I do think you have to weigh the time to clean burn vs the length of the burn.

Timing reloads right it’s helpful too. Anything below 200 STT I know will start slower.
 
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You are lucky in that the F400 lights secondaries fast. I do think you have to weigh the time to clean burn vs the length of the burn.

Timing reloads right it’s helpful too. Anything below 200 STT I know will start slower.
Yes i think you nailed it.
With tight loads for long burn probably just need to accept the less clean burn starting.
And also need to make sure the coal bed is big enough, and with the smaller morning coals need to use more smaller splits and
Mixing fast pine, ash in. Thanks
 
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Thinking it mostly boils down to coal bed management.
 
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I generally reload on a light bed of coals, flue temps between 50-100°C (120-200°F), and I almost always top off my loads with a bit of newspaper & kindling to make sure it takes off fast and clean. The only time I don't do that is if the splits I'm loading start burning while I'm still loading... which really only happens if I'm pushing the stove hard for heat (like outside temps of -20°C or lower, or -4°F and lower).
Cheers
 
Thinking it mostly boils down to coal bed management.
If you make a tench in the coals front to back so the doghouse air get back then goes up the back then the baffle heats up. But that will get you going hot almost too fast. The F400 has a shape and design that is pretty unique. I think it’s relatively quick to clean plume. Probably because it’s a small fire box. And you can always break the rules and open the ashpan door. My rule is my hand never leaves the ashpan door handle.
 
And you can always break the rules and open the ashpan door. My rule is my hand never leaves the ashpan door handle.
Don't do that. A stove base replacement is very expensive. With good dry wood it should not be necessary.
 
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With the N/S loading T6 I just rake the coals forward and pack the new load on top with one or two skinny splits at the bottom center on the coals.

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In my PE Spectrum Classic I do exactly the same with my smaller firebox.
In the fall I purposely split 1/2 a face cord of 1'' to 2'' splits specifically to help with warming up the stove & chimney when reloading on a lighter coal bed and on fresh starts. Everything takes off quickly that way.
 
For some reason the trench/tunnel has not worked well for me in the past. I'm pretty sure my problems are due to weak/small coal beds.